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Sacred Valley Driver / Guide

Sacred Valley Driver / Guide

Old Mar 25, 2016, 6:02 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
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I emailed Edwin,Oscar and Mario for my upcoming trip to Sacred Valley/Cuzco. Hope one of them will come through as I am going in peak season(June 3rd week).

Anyone has ideas on how to get tickets for Inti Raymi festival in Cuzco? I didn't plan but will be there and planning to get tickets for the festival.
concordian is offline  
Old Mar 26, 2016, 1:35 am
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by concordian
Anyone has ideas on how to get tickets for Inti Raymi festival in Cuzco? I didn't plan but will be there and planning to get tickets for the festival.
Googling a bit I stumbled across this site: http://intiraymiperu.com/

It's currently the middle of the night locally, but I can call in tomorrow morning or Monday to give you some more 'official' information if you'd prefer.
joseeantonior is offline  
Old Apr 12, 2016, 5:35 pm
  #33  
 
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For what it's worth, I emailed Oscar but didn't hear back from him.

I then emailed Mario and now I'm close to finalizing the details with him. Will report back after my trip. ^
RCyyz is offline  
Old Apr 13, 2016, 8:54 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by RCyyz
For what it's worth, I emailed Oscar but didn't hear back from him.

I then emailed Mario and now I'm close to finalizing the details with him. Will report back after my trip. ^
please do! when is your trip? i'll be there for a long labor day weekend.
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Old Apr 18, 2016, 4:29 pm
  #35  
 
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I'm there next month - yay!

Still working out the details with Mario; it's looking good so far. For the record, Oscar did eventually email me back with an apology for taking so long to revert to me. But I had already more or less settled on Mario by then.
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Old Apr 19, 2016, 1:51 pm
  #36  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
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Is a driver guide even needed for CUZ to Urubamba? We plan on staying in Urubamba, but I think Uber could take us there instead for cheaper. I understand to get to the rest of the sites, an SV driver guide would be needed. Are these companies still in business, and what are the price points now?
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Old Apr 22, 2016, 7:26 pm
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by ajandraschell
Is a driver guide even needed for CUZ to Urubamba? We plan on staying in Urubamba, but I think Uber could take us there instead for cheaper. I understand to get to the rest of the sites, an SV driver guide would be needed. Are these companies still in business, and what are the price points now?
Hey,

Unfortunately, Uber does not operate in Cusco, only Lima So best bet is hiring a private driver or tour there.
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Old May 29, 2016, 9:44 am
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by RCyyz
Still working out the details with Mario; it's looking good so far. For the record, Oscar did eventually email me back with an apology for taking so long to revert to me. But I had already more or less settled on Mario by then.
Greetings from the UA lounge in EWR. Via email I had arranged a tour with Mario ([email protected]). Here's what I got for 3 pax:

Day 1: Pick you up from [CUZ] with direction of Moray and Salt mines and finishing at you hotel in Urubamba.
US$ 50.00

Day 2: No service (at my request because we were visiting Machu Picchu).

Day 3: Transfer from Urubamba to Cusco, You will make a short stop by Chinchero ending at your hotel in Cusco. Afterwards you can visit. Andahuaylillas, Piquillacta and Tipon.
US$ 100.00

Day 4: Sacsayhuaman, Q'enqo, Awanacancha (alpacas and llamas farm), Pisaq market and ruins. Back to Cusco
US$ 60.00

All in all, for $210 (for 3 pax) not a bad deal. Mario did note that "maybe it's not going to be myself because I have to take another group in a tour in Sacred Valley and Machupicchu. For those days the driver will be Marco who is a good driver and speaks few English but knows everything like me because we are working together for many years."

So it was Marco who did the driving for the first bit. He was a decent driver; a little tame for my tastes but safe enough and certainly a courteous fellow. His English was poor but then again, so is my Spanish and ultimately it's my fault for visiting a place where I lack the language skills. Nonetheless, we were able to communicate without any real difficulty. Marco was also an efficient driver in that he knew to go here before there because of closing times, sunset for views etc. I liked that. He also made it a point to let me know what kind of ticket to buy at the various sites; very useful! ^

Unfortunately, as we were driving from Urubamba to Cusco, Marco has some sort of family issue he needed to take care of. He called Mario to explain, then on the phone Mario relayed to me the situation and indicated that if we were OK with it, he'd release Marco so he could go take care of his daughter. Leanso would be our replacement driver.

So after our drop off at our hotel in Cusco, we met Leonso who would drive us the rest of the way. Leanso spoke no English (other than "thank you") and could not (would not?) understand our limited Spanish. At one point Leonso indicated we'd be visiting 3 places so I asked "Quando tiempo por la visita?". I wanted to know how long it would take to see all of the places he had mentioned. I got a blank stare of complete and utter incomprehension.

That said, Leonso was a nice guy and a good driver. I preferred his driving style over Marco's; Leonso was (safely) aggressive when he needed to be but laid back the rest of the time. His car was also in somewhat better repair vs Marco's. I guess Leonso just wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. But he was an emergency replacement and he did the job of getting us around.

I think if we had Mario driving us, it would have been better from a communications perspective. I got to see what I wanted to see so I'm not complaining, especially at only $210 for 3 pax. But even if we had Marco things would have been easier for us. So I would suggest that if you book with Mario, try to make sure you're actually getting Mario doing the driving. (And again, Mario did indicate to me via email that it would be Marco doing at least some of the driving.) If you can't get Mario (or Marco), you might be better off with someone else.
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Old Jun 27, 2016, 3:06 pm
  #39  
 
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I've been in contact with all 3 folks mentioned here trying to figure out an itinerary, does the below sound reasonable?

Day 1: We will go to explore part of Sacred Valley. The first visit will be Chinchero then Salt mines of Maras and Moray. Evening train to Aguas Calientes. Overnight at Aguas Calientes hotel. Also Ollantaytambo's fortress
It costs: US$ 190.00 and includes:
-Private transportation
-Boletos Turisticos for 2
-Entrances for Salt mines
-Guide service

Day 2: Tour of Machupicchu. Morning bus up to the Sanctuary to tour Machupicchu for about 03 hours. Bus back to A.C. town and train back to Ollantaytambo. (We can continue to Cusco that evening if the next day your departure is early)
It costs: US$ 180.00 and includes:
-Round trip bus tickets for 2
-Transportation Ollantaytambo's station to Cusco hotel
-Guide service

This itinerary has me buying my own train tickets roundtrip Ollantaytambo to MP as well as tix into MP.

Contrast that to this:

Day 01
-Am, Arrive to Cusco reception and transfer to your hotel.
Free morning for aclimatiton.
13:30hrs we have a city tour arround Cusco area visiting, Sacsayhuamn Inca strength, Kenko, Pucapucara, and Tambomachay the templo of the water, then The templo of the Sun Qoricancha Guided and Tourist bus transportation. or private service. Finished about 18:20hrs.

Day 02
8:30am. Sacred Valle tour Visiting Pisac de Indian Market and the Inca Ruins, the Valley of Calca, Urubamba Buffet Lunch, after Visit the Ollaytaytambo Inca Ruins and about 4:30 we have conetion by tgrain to Aguas Calientes (machupichu) for over nigth y a hotel. we provide you the train tickets to go To machupichcu arriving at 18hrs.

Day 03
6a.m Visit Machupichu Citadel, We go with the Bus from aguas calientes up to machupicchu 25minutes, entrance fees to Machupicchu with a guide service after 4 hrs in machupicchu or more afternoon return to Cusco by train and transport to your hotel.

This itinerary includes all train tix and MP tix as well as the 1 night stay in Aguas Calientes, is priced at 575 per person private party or 385 per person with with shared group.
shootermcgav1n is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2016, 3:21 pm
  #40  
 
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Originally Posted by shootermcgav1n
I've been in contact with all 3 folks mentioned here trying to figure out an itinerary, does the below sound reasonable?

Day 1: We will go to explore part of Sacred Valley. The first visit will be Chinchero then Salt mines of Maras and Moray. Evening train to Aguas Calientes. Overnight at Aguas Calientes hotel. Also Ollantaytambo's fortress
It costs: US$ 190.00 and includes:
-Private transportation
-Boletos Turisticos for 2
-Entrances for Salt mines
-Guide service

Day 2: Tour of Machupicchu. Morning bus up to the Sanctuary to tour Machupicchu for about 03 hours. Bus back to A.C. town and train back to Ollantaytambo. (We can continue to Cusco that evening if the next day your departure is early)
It costs: US$ 180.00 and includes:
-Round trip bus tickets for 2
-Transportation Ollantaytambo's station to Cusco hotel
-Guide service

This itinerary has me buying my own train tickets roundtrip Ollantaytambo to MP as well as tix into MP.

Contrast that to this:

Day 01
-Am, Arrive to Cusco reception and transfer to your hotel.
Free morning for aclimatiton.
13:30hrs we have a city tour arround Cusco area visiting, Sacsayhuamn Inca strength, Kenko, Pucapucara, and Tambomachay the templo of the water, then The templo of the Sun Qoricancha Guided and Tourist bus transportation. or private service. Finished about 18:20hrs.

Day 02
8:30am. Sacred Valle tour Visiting Pisac de Indian Market and the Inca Ruins, the Valley of Calca, Urubamba Buffet Lunch, after Visit the Ollaytaytambo Inca Ruins and about 4:30 we have conetion by tgrain to Aguas Calientes (machupichu) for over nigth y a hotel. we provide you the train tickets to go To machupichcu arriving at 18hrs.

Day 03
6a.m Visit Machupichu Citadel, We go with the Bus from aguas calientes up to machupicchu 25minutes, entrance fees to Machupicchu with a guide service after 4 hrs in machupicchu or more afternoon return to Cusco by train and transport to your hotel.

This itinerary includes all train tix and MP tix as well as the 1 night stay in Aguas Calientes, is priced at 575 per person private party or 385 per person with with shared group.
Main thing that stands out is just three hours at Machu Picchu in that first example. Three hours might be all you want, but I'd plan on 5-6 hours and simply leave early if you've done enough. If it's just a place to check off the bucket list, fine, 3 hours and move on to the next. But it might captivate you. If it does, how will you feel about having gone to so much trouble to see it, only to have to leave so quickly? It's not that one way is right and the other wrong. Many people do a 1-2 hour tour with a guide and no exploring on their own, and that's enough. Others want to get out on the trails and explore, and you may very well want an hour or so of "downtime" in-between long-ish hikes. Add extra time if you want to climb Huayna Picchu.

If you're not into hiking, stick with the shorter itin at Machu Picchu. No need to torture yourself, and there's no water or food stands out on the trails. But if you're unsure, then take one of the early busses up the mountain and plan on returning as late as 2pm. That would allow up to 7 hours on top. If you're done with the place in three hours, return to town early and have a nice meal, see the town (it's not very big), visit the shops.
Mike Jacoubowsky is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2016, 7:37 pm
  #41  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Just as a reference I'm attaching an image of what our AirBnb host charged for services. All payments went directly to the driver or tour guide.
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Old Jun 28, 2016, 10:04 am
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky
Main thing that stands out is just three hours at Machu Picchu in that first example. Three hours might be all you want, but I'd plan on 5-6 hours and simply leave early if you've done enough. If it's just a place to check off the bucket list, fine, 3 hours and move on to the next. But it might captivate you. If it does, how will you feel about having gone to so much trouble to see it, only to have to leave so quickly? It's not that one way is right and the other wrong. Many people do a 1-2 hour tour with a guide and no exploring on their own, and that's enough. Others want to get out on the trails and explore, and you may very well want an hour or so of "downtime" in-between long-ish hikes. Add extra time if you want to climb Huayna Picchu.

If you're not into hiking, stick with the shorter itin at Machu Picchu. No need to torture yourself, and there's no water or food stands out on the trails. But if you're unsure, then take one of the early busses up the mountain and plan on returning as late as 2pm. That would allow up to 7 hours on top. If you're done with the place in three hours, return to town early and have a nice meal, see the town (it's not very big), visit the shops.
Thanks for bringing this up, I'll certainly double check that with Mario. Do most ppl climb to the top of MP mtn? I notice there are diff ticket prices out there depending on if you just want entrance, vs climbing the mtn, vs Huayna Picchu.
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Old Jun 28, 2016, 1:25 pm
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by shootermcgav1n
Thanks for bringing this up, I'll certainly double check that with Mario. Do most ppl climb to the top of MP mtn? I notice there are diff ticket prices out there depending on if you just want entrance, vs climbing the mtn, vs Huayna Picchu.
That is correct - there is one ticket to enter the city and separate tickets are needed to climb both Macchu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountains. The separate tickets must be purchased combined with the ticket to the city.

No, most people do not, not least because on average it takes an additional 3-4 hours round trip; it is another ~650 meters higher (a moderate hike when dry - difficult when wet), it is not as iconic as Huayna Picchu, and it requires a separate ticket/additional cost (although it is a minimal $5US). Although the tickets for MP mountain are limited to two timed entry groups of 400 people (max) each, in most cases you can buy tickets the day before or even the day of. But to avoid surprises or disappointment I suggest purchasing well ahead of time.

[The same cannot be said for the much more popular Huayna Picchu - it is currently sold out through August and about 50% sold for the next month after that.]

Also note that tickets are sold with individual visitor's names on them to prevent reselling and theft. Visitors must present their passports at the main entrance so their names can be matched to their tickets.

I didn't climb MP when I was there last month so cant offer any insights on the climb itself.

Last edited by Section 107; Jun 28, 2016 at 2:36 pm Reason: clarity, grammar
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Old Jun 28, 2016, 3:08 pm
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by shootermcgav1n
Thanks for bringing this up, I'll certainly double check that with Mario. Do most ppl climb to the top of MP mtn? I notice there are diff ticket prices out there depending on if you just want entrance, vs climbing the mtn, vs Huayna Picchu.
As pointed out by Section 107, few climb MP itself. Huayna Picchu is another thing entirely, and, as mentioned, tickets are much tougher to come by. It's quite an arduous climb and even tougher descent; if I recall correctly, plan on a 3 hour round trip for that alone. But there are plenty of other trails that are interesting and not quite so arduous (and would extend the time you need past 3 hours). Inca Bridge and Sun Gate, for example.

Just keep in mind it's a tough haul if you want to really explore. Bring lots of water and some food!
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Old Jun 28, 2016, 5:26 pm
  #45  
 
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Originally Posted by shootermcgav1n
I've been in contact with all 3 folks mentioned here trying to figure out an itinerary, does the below sound reasonable?
It all sounds rather expensive to me. My tour (posted above) was only $210 for 3 pax. (i.e. $70 per pax.) We had a private tour.

Points to consider:

- The bus at Aguas Clientes is $12 each way. It's very easy to buy your tickets at the booth but make sure you take crisp, new bills. They will complain / reject your money if it's folded or otherwise "used".
- I concur that 3h is insufficient time to properly explore MP.
- If you want the iconic picture of MP, take the path that turns sharply left (and goes up) as you enter. If you want an easier walk, go straight ahead.
- For the various sites in the Sacred Valley, a boleros truisticos is (I seem to recall) 110 Soles per person. It's relatively expensive but not a fortune by any means.
- Entrance to the sale mines costs an extra 10 or 20 Soles per person
- If you buy your own MP train tickets, buy them now. Don't wait! Train tix sell out quickly.
- I didn't do it myself, but my research of Huayna Picchu leads me to believe it's 2h up and 45 to 60 min down. There are only 2 timed entries to get there. The climb did not look straightforward to me.
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